RS Update Oct 29: No one’s in charge

Berlin still has no official governing coalition, as the SPD, Die Linke and Die Grünen drag on their negotiations.

Public transport ticket prices for 2017 have been announced, and they’re going up again, despite the BVG pulling in a record profit.

Come along to Radio Spaetkauf’s next live show on November 20 at Comedy Cafe Berlin.

And stay tuned for a very special new project. Radio Spaetkauf is teaming up with RadioEins to produce a bi-monthly short news update!

RS Update: Berlin Election Results

By Joel Dullroy

The Berlin election results are in. And it looks like Michael Müller will remain mayor, if he can build a coalition with two other parties – most likely Die Grüne and Die Linke.

The headline from this election is the rise of Alternativ für Deutschland, the xenophobic, homophobic nationalist party, which won 14.2% of the vote and gained 25 seats in the 160-seat Abgeordnetenhaus, the city’s parliament. The AfD won most of their votes in the east, where there has been an ugly backlash against refugees. In the past few years there have been arson attacks on refugee shelters and public demonstrations by xenophobes. The AfD won’t get into any governing coalition, but it will end up chairing committees and will have influence in several of the local councils where spending decisions are made on education and refugee housing.

This election was a protest against the major parties. Every party lost votes, except for AFD (+14.2%), FDP (+4.9%) and Die Linke (+3.9%). Michael Müller’s SPD won the most votes, with 21.6% and 38 seats. But that’s down 6.7% from five years ago. It’s the SPD’s worst performance in Berlin since World War 2. Frank Henkel’s CDU also lost big, dropping to 17.6%, a loss of 5.7%. Also a historically terrible performance. Surprisingly, Die Grüne also lost votes, ending up with 15.2%, a drop of 2.4%.

But the biggest losers were the Pirates, who got only 1.7% (down 7.2%) and were therefore knocked out of parliament. They got even less than Die Partei, the joke party, who got 2%. Where did all those Pirate voters go? Probably to Die Linke or the FDP. The party was always a bit of a mixed bag of socialists and anti-government liberals.

The FDP, who campaigned heavily on keeping Tegel open, won 6.7%, bringing them back into parliament with 12 seats. But they won’t be able to enact any of their policies unless they end up in the governing coalition, which is a bit of an outside chance at the moment, since not many of their policies align with the Greens or Die Linke, either or both of whom are necessary for the SPD to form a government.

While everyone is talking about the rise of the AfD, let’s not forget that Die Linke also picked up votes, gaining 3.9% to reach 15.6%. That’s more than the AfD got, and it shows there are even more people determined to keep Berlin a strong social and inclusive city as there are xenophobes who want to shut the gates.

And what about our own candiate? Radio Spaetkauf co-host Jöran Mandik ran for election in the district of Neukölln 1 as a journalistic exercise. And he got… 66 votes! That’s 0.4% of the total. His seat was won by the Green party candidate, who got 5778 votes. At least Jöran didn’t come last. He beat the candidate from the neo-nazi NPD party, who got 52 votes. So good work Jöran on keeping the NPD out of power!

Who to vote for in Berlin?

By Joel Dullroy, Radio Spaetkauf

Berliners will go to the polls to vote for their local councils and the city-state government on Sunday September 18 2016. Who should you vote for – if you can vote? Radio Spaetkauf decodes the parties and their programmes for you:


If you’re a European Union citizen and have registered your address with the Bürgeramt, you are eligible to vote – but only at the very local level, which is called the Bezirks-Verordneten-Versammlung, or BVV or short. You should have received a letter in the mail informing you of your polling station. If you didn’t get a letter, you aren’t registered and can’t vote.

You get one vote, and you can give it to one party. Each party has lists of candidates who are given seats depending on what percentage of votes they win. There are no independents in the BVV system. These local councils decide on street-level issues. Most importantly, they can decide whether to declare an area as a “Milieuschütgebeit”, which creates extra restrictions over housing policy – which is good for renters.

Not sure who to vote for? If you’re worried about your rent going up, check if the party supports more Milieuschützgebeit and rent controls. This is the most effective thing you can do with your local vote.


Here’s a run-down on the main parties and what they stand for, in order of how they’re currently polling:

Latest poll: 22% (down from 28%).
Leader: Michael Müller.
About: In power in Berlin for the past 27 years, as major coalition partner for the past 15. Oversaw (or overlooked) the BER disaster.
For: More investment in education, free lunches at schools, and free kindergartens.
Against: Spaetkaufs opening on Sundays, legal cannabis.

Leader: Frank Henkel.
Latest poll: 18% (down from 23% at last election).
About: Have been in coalition with the SPD since 2011. Got tough on protesters, squatters and drug dealers.
For: More police, more video cameras, using police in evictions.
Against: Gay marriage, burquas, streets named after Karl Marx.

Latest poll: 18% (17.6% at last election).
Leaders: Ramona Pop and Antje Kapek.
About: The only party to fully back the goals of the Volksentscheid Fahrrad (bicycle referendum).
For: Spaetkaufs open on Sundays, legalizing cannabis and same-sex marriage, body-cams on police.
Against: The A100 highway through Treptow/Friedrichshain.

Latest poll: 14% (17.6% at last election).
Leaders: Klaus Lederer.
About: Were part of the ruling coalition in the 2000s with Klaus Wowereit’s SPD.
For: Tougher rent controls, free kindergartens, legalizing cannabis and same sex marriage.
Against: Spaetkaufs opening on Sundays.

Latest poll: 14% (didn’t exist at last election).
Leaders: Georg Pazderski.
About: Nationalists, xenophobes, homophobes.
For: Border controls, less migration and refugees, zero tolerance on crime.
Against: Immigrants, non-traditional families, the TV tax.

Latest poll: 5% (1.8% at last election).
Leaders: Sebastian Czaja.
About: Trying to make a come-back after being destroyed at the last election.
For: Keeping Tegel airport open, building the A100 highway, English as a second bureaucratic language.
Against: The AirBnB crackdown, most regulation and taxes, investment in social housing.

Latest poll: Less than 3% (8.9% at last election).
Leaders: Bruno Kramm.
About: Were very effective in asking lots of questions in parliament and documenting the BER disaster.
For: Free public internet across Berlin, pilot project for unconditional basic income, free public transport.
Against: The A100 highway, video surveillance, the BER airport company.


  • DIE PARTEI: A joke party that occasionally makes some prescient social points. Have already booked SO36 for their victory party.
  • BERGPARTEI: Another joke party, originally formed to build a mountain in Berlin.
  • DKP: The Communist party, promising lower rents and higher wages.
  • NPD: Almost Nazis. Germany’s main far-right party, before the AFD came along.
  • BÜRGERBEWEGUNG: Another right-wing party trying to trick voters with love hearts.


Try using the Wahl-O-Mat website.


The most likely outcome is a coalition between the SPD, Die Linke and Die Grünen. The CDU wants to stay in power in coalition with the SPD, but Michael Müller has said he’d prefer to share power with the Greens. At the last election, a potential SPD/Greens coalition failed to materialise because of disputes over the A100 highway. Those still exist, but the parties seem willing to work through it this time around. But the polls are close, and almost 30% of voters have told pollsters they are undecided. It’s still anyone’s game.


Listen to the latest episode of Radio Spaetkauf for a full analysis of the election and possible outcomes, with some graphic design critique thrown in:

RS#08: Berlin Election Special

We’re decoding the Berlin election with a full run down on what each party is promising, with some graphic design critique thrown in.
Who’s going to run Berlin after the September 18 vote? Probably not the CDU, who have lost voters to the far-right AFD. The SPD doesn’t want to govern with them, and neither do the Greens. It makes an SPD-Greens-Linke coalition a pretty likely scenario.
Our own candidate Jöran Mandik talks about his campaign (or lack of it). Turns out if he could get 2500 votes, he’d earn over €6000 in public campaign contributions.
We have a special guest, blogger John Riceburg, who has his own controversial opinion on the election. He doesn’t like any of the parties, who aren’t promising any great changes at all.
Special thanks to our hosts Comedy Cafe Berlin!

Video: Live from the Mobile Kino Weekend… er?

Enjoy the full video version of our live recording at the Mobile Kino Weekend film festival 2016, with guests including the Bureaucrazy team.

Thanks to videographer Alejandro Prullansky for filming and editing this episode! You can find more of his work at: